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Posted By Nan

Revelation 3:1-6.
This section is addressed to the assembly in Sardis. Sardis was an ancient city that had once been a very prominent centre. It had an acropolis in a high place that had been considered impregnable but had fallen twice due to the lack of vigilance of the people of Sardis. Perhaps there is a message here for the believers in Sardis? Jesus is accusing them of being dead, of needing to rouse themselves and remain awake (watchful?) and to strengthen and invigorate their faith. Jesus calls them to keep watch or He will come like a thief in the night and they will be judged. Just as the acropolis twice fell due to a lack of watchfulness, the believers in Sardis are in danger of being judged by Jesus and fall.
There is the suggestion in the verses that the believers in Sardis were once known for being on fire for God, for having a great faith and growing spiritually. It appears the people of Sardis lacked the qualities of the people of Thyatira. They no longer lived in love, faith, service and perseverance. Their actions were half hearted, not necessarily every completed and no doubt were frequently put aside for more “important” matters. How easy it is for us to do the same. This particularly happens in churches where the need to remain vigilant is taking care of by the more “spiritual” members of the church. It is easy to just worry about the rosters, the social interactions and the gossip. So easy to forget about what is important, growing in Jesus and taking up your cross daily – making that choice to live by His direction whatever the cost. Hard one there! It sounds like the people of Sardis were like the seed sown amongst the weeds. They grew quickly with enthusiasm but the temptations of the world crowded out their faith and it choked and was in danger of dying.
Judging from the statement in verse 4, it is likely that one of the major ways the people of Sardis had fallen away from God was to adopt the practices and customs of their heathen neighbours. They were failing to walk with Jesus. Yet some have continued to live faithful lives, intent on spiritual growth and following Jesus’ narrow way. These people will grow in their faith. When Jesus comes they will have continued to believe in Jesus and their names will be in His Book of Life. That is the danger of altering our lives to accommodate the world. It is so easy to stop even believing in Jesus so that we lose our places in the Book of Life.
Be vigilant. Always seek to follow Jesus. Accept that sometimes following Him involves sacrifices. They are worth it for the true gift of eternal life with Jesus, preceded by an earthly life in His footsteps, supported all the way.
Remember, Jesus does not ask us to follow Him to be a killjoy. He demands it of us because He knows that this is the path that gives us true peace, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

 

 
Posted By Nan

Revelation 2:18-29
Thyatira was the home of Lydia, the seller of purple cloth who is mentioned in Acts 16:14 as the first convert in Macedonia. This city was a city of craftsmen and the merchants who sold the crafts. Because of the craftsmen there were many trade guilds in the city. Trade guilds may to our modern eyes seem innocuous, but in Roman times the guilds had a patron god whom they worshipped. Feasts were held in the temple in honour of the god and were seen as being religious. There were sacrifices to the god and feasting on the meat. Often the feasts would end with sexually perverse and promiscuous acts. Hardly something the followers of Jesus would want to be involved in. Yet there were some believers who did. They followed one of the assembly, referred to by John as “Jezebel” who was a Nicolaitan. She taught that the only way to truly understand God was through participation in satan worship. When the people knew satan’s deep secrets they would know the secrets of God. Then they would be beyond morality and indulging in the religious feasts of the guilds would be perfectly acceptable!
It is interesting that Jesus refers to Himself as having feet like burnished bronze. This was something commonly produced in Thyatira. Perhaps this is a reminder that all things come from God and the absolute control over Thyatira belong to Jesus, not the Roman gods. Jesus also commends the people of Thyatira for their love, faith, service and persistence. He commended them for doing those things more than when they first came to faith. This is a good reminder of the “good works” Jesus requires of us. The only complaint Jesus had against the people was that they tolerated Jezebel when they should have cast her out.
Jesus alludes once again to the symbols used by the Romans. At the end of these verses He promises that those who hold firm to the end will receive the morning star. In Roman worship this was Venus who was synonymous with victory. True victory lies in Jesus. In this world where so many have become lost and look to worldly things to find victory, it is a good thing to remember true victory lies in Jesus.

 

 
Posted By Nan

After a long break, during which time I have moved and had a much needed break. I am back to my blog. I am so grateful to God for all He has achieved in my life over the last four weeks and for His great blessings upon me and my family. I pray this time has been a wonderful time of blessing for you also. Once thing we can never forget is how much God loves us. Today’s message to the faithful of Pergamum is a good reminder of that.


Revelation 2:12-17
This passage is to the faithful assembly in Pergamum. This city was the centre of the religious life of the province. When I was in Turkey some time ago, I was advised to go to Pergamum and see the amazing view from the top if its extremely tall hill, the site of many temples in ancient Pergamum. I only had time for one city to I went to Ephesus and walked in the ground Paul and John had traversed. Pergamum’s great height made it an important place for pagan worship. Amongst the many important temples to Greek and Roman Gods there was also a temple dedicated to the Emperor Augustus. So Pergamum really was the place Satan dwelled. For the faithful, there was much temptation to succumb to the pressure to worship these idols, especially the emperor, but they resisted, even when one of their own was horrifically martyred. Jesus commended them for their faith. Jesus, however, cautioned the people to be careful of those in their midst who supported the Nicolaitan beliefs including sexual immorality. This warning applies to us today as much as the people of Pergamum in Revelation. It is easy to allow the ways of the world to weaken our faith and allow the odd little misdemeanour. However we must remain true to what Jesus has taught us. It is important to be wary of those who are those whose seed was planted on rocky ground and quickly fell away from the strictures of following Jesus. Be wary in your own life. Jesus admonished the faithful of Pergamum to separate themselves from these people. We must be careful to do likewise. If someone’s teaching is causing you to be tempted then walk away from it.
Jesus called the people to repent of the Nicolaitan teaching and turn away from such sin. He promised that He would give some of the hidden manna. Our redemption through Jesus is likened to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. For us the manna is the water of life, the Holy Spirit and salvation. As a mark of our redemption He will give us a white stone, the symbol of innocence, with our new name written on it. When we are born again, we are born to God. We are adopted as His children. Hence we receive a new name of the new relationship with God through Jesus. Remember Abram, who was given the name Abraham and Jacob, who was given the name of Israel? These men were given these names at a time when God took them into a deeper relationship with Him. When He indicated to them they had a special role for them. Likewise, Peter and Paul were given new names by Jesus as He gave them their special roles in His name. When we repent and overcome sin, Jesus gives us a new name, the name of our new relationship and His special plan for our lives.

 

 

 

 
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Nan
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